Zack Hunt of The American Jesus blog posted an excellent discussion of this issue today. One of the most consistent objections to my blog has been along the lines of “How dare you criticize a Christian leader/pastor/etc? You are being divisive and sinning.” Zack is no stranger to that, being a thoughtful critic of certain elements of contemporary American Christianity. He is a student of Christian History at the Yale Divinity School, so he isn’t just another yay-who with a blog. He knows his stuff. (Don’t worry – he write in a very approachable, non-stuffy way. We all continue to hold our breaths that divinity school doesn’t beat the approachableness of his style out of him.)
Here’s a snippet of his post. (It’s like he’s read my email!)
If you’re a Christian with a blog, or just an opinion in general, and you have the audacity to critique other Christians, particularly prominent Christian leaders, you will inevitably find yourself under attack by fellow Christians accusing you of “stirring up disunity” in the church. The thought being that if “the world” sees the church display any hint of discord, disagreement, or imperfection, that would be somehow mean the total collapse of the church’s ability to do evangelism or worse, the invalidation of the gospel.
This is, of course, nonsense. If it were true, the church, with its 2,000 years of flawed history, would have collapsed long, long ago. And yet these attacks continue. Why? Because there is a powerful force behind them: fear.
Of course, the church should strive for unity, but what these Chicken Littles of the faith are bemoaning is not the absence of unity, but conformity; conformity to their particular brand of the faith. Moreover, they’re mourning the prospect that their favorite Christian guru or church may not be as perfect as they thought, or needed them to be.
You really need to read the entire post, especially if you’ve ever wondered it’s wrong to think critically about and/or disagree with something a leader has said or done. Or if someone has ever questioned you about doing so. It’s so well-thought-out. Zack explains where this desire for perfection comes from (Genesis 2) and why perpetuating a lie of perfection destroys true Christian faith and makes a mockery of the cross. I especially love his conclusion:
We are a broken people and that’s ok.
In the face of a world that demands perfection, this brokenness of the Body of Christ is nothing short of scandalous.
To reject that brokenness for the sake of public perception is to reject the cross and the God who was crucified upon it.
Standing ovation to Zack, and also, THANK YOU.